South African Gold Producers Reach Lung-Disease Settlement.
Anglo American Plc, Harmony Gold Mining Co. Ltd. and other mining companies agreed to resolve a lawsuit filed by workers who said they contracted deadly lung diseases in South African gold mines in the country’s largest class-action settlement deal.
The agreement provides for compensation for all eligible workers suffering from silicosis or tuberculosis who worked in the companies’ mines at any point since March 1965, the parties said in a statement
Thursday. The six producers, which also include AngloGold Ashanti Ltd.
and Gold Fields Ltd.
, last year set aside about 5 billion rand ($390 million) to settle the lawsuit. The settlement will be submitted to South Africa’s South Gauteng High Court for ratification.
The workers say they were negligently exposed to large amounts of silica dust
over decades, causing silicosis and pulmonary tuberculosis. South Africa’s mines, which have produced a third of all the world’s gold, have drawn in millions of poor, black workers from across the region in the 130 years since gold was discovered. The mines remain among the world’s deepest and most dangerous even after the end of apartheid rule in 1994, before which safety standards and environmental restrictions were minimal.